Car theft numbers climbing in 2015

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COLUMBIA - Car theft numbers are rising in 2015.

Columbia Police Department's Uniform Crime Reporting data showed that for motor vehicle thefts through September, 2015 numbers topped last year's by 35 incidents.

The UCR data also showed that each month in 2015, car thefts surpassed the 2010-2014 monthly averages for every month after February.

CPD Public Information Officer Bryana Larimer said there is an obvious increase in the rate of car thefts: "The numbers say it is, yes."

She attributed the increase to two things.

"I would say that crime rates fluctuate, and that's for every crime, not just specific to motor vehicle thefts," Larimer says.

She also said the CPD has seen a trend in car theft reports, where more people are leaving their car doors unlocked.

Larimer said this is something to think about as it begins to get colder because people like to heat up their cars before leaving the house, leaving them unattended.

According to CPD dispatch data, there had been 77 calls about auto theft incidents in Columbia from Oct. 1 through Nov. 18; however, the department had not yet reported those numbers into the UCR data system.

Larimer said not all calls to dispatch end up being reported as motor vehicle thefts in the UCR database.

CPD encouraged people to lock doors and not leave running cars unattended going into the winter season.